Oct 19, 2013; Champaign, IL, USA; Illinois Fighting Illini quarterback Nathan Scheelhaase (2) prepares to throw the ball in the third quarter at Memorial Stadium. Wisconsin won 56-32. Mandatory Credit: Trevor Ruszkowksi-USA TODAY Sports

Illinois Football Roundtable: Who are the Most Important Illini Heading into Homecoming?

In this roundtable, the staff of Writing Illini looks at who needs to come up big for Illinois this weekend at Memorial Stadium in order for the Illini to pull off the Homecoming upset on Michigan State.

Austin:  Scheelhaase.  It is a common theme this year for us to put Nathan as the “most important Illini” heading in to games.  He is our quarterback (cue the voice of T.O. describing Romo), but he has not played as well in the past couple weeks as he had this season. Cubit’s offense has helped him have a great start to the season, but he needs to find ways to get back to where he was at three weeks ago heading in to the Nebraska game.  The talent is there, let’s see if he can put it on the field.

Ricky: Nathan Scheelhaase will be the most important Illini against MSU this weekend. Last week against Wisconsin, Scheelhaase looked jittery and went back to his old run happy self. He needs to be the leader of the offense and get them rolling on all cylinders early in the game. If the Illini offense stalls to begin this game, they will most likely be 0-3 and winless in the Big Ten under Tim Beckman.

Ryan: It’s time for the defense to come up big. They have been beaten down by a pair of tough matchups in Nebraska and Wisconsin to start the B1G season, but the Spartans are far from a tough matchup. MSU has struggled offensively all season long, and this game is certainly winnable if the Illinois defense can stop Jeremy Langford and the rest of the Spartan rushing attack. Keeping Michigan State off the scoreboard so that the Illini offense can rediscover their mojo without feeling as if they have to shoulder the entire burden is the biggest reason that the entire defense is the most important group of Illini this weekend.

Rees: The most important Illini is a collective effort.  It is the defensive line.  The defensive line needs to get the strong push off the line.  This will shut down Langford from having a big game and will keep the Illini competitive.  The Spartans go as Langford goes.

The Writing Illini staff includes lead editor Ricky Widmer, co-editor Ryan Kraemer, and staff writers, Austin Jabs and Rees Woodcock.

Follow Ricky on Twitter @RickyWidmer.

Follow Austin on Twitter @AustinJabs85.

Follow Ryan on Twitter @RPKraemer.


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Tags: Football Illinois Fighting Illini Michigan State Spartans Nathan Scheelhaase

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